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Risk and Recovery: Understanding the Changing Risks to Family Incomes

October 1, 2009

Examines the factors that affect the likelihood of families with children to experience sharp income drops and to recover financially, including job loss, separation, and spikes in income before the drop, as well as demographics and original income level.

Risk and Recovery: Documenting the Changing Risks to Family Incomes

May 31, 2009

Based on 1996, 2001, and 2004 data, examines the incidence of incomes of individuals with children falling substantially over a four-month period and the incidence of their recovering to pre-decline levels. Compares data by income quintile.

Job Differences by Race and Ethnicity in the Low-Skill Job Market

February 17, 2009

Based on a survey of employers, examines differences in wages and benefits among African-American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, and white workers in jobs that do not require a college degree. Compares job requirements, ages, education levels, and training.

Entry-Level and Next-Step Jobs in the Low-Skill Job Market

November 1, 2008

Based on a survey of employers, compares entry-level and next-step jobs in the non-college job market in terms of compensation, tasks, needed skills, employer types, and hiring methods. Considers how employment programs can help people get next-step jobs.

Job Placement Agencies and the Low-Skill Labor Market

November 1, 2008

Based on a survey of employers, assesses the use of different types of agencies to fill low-skill jobs, the types of jobs commonly filled, and employers' experiences with agencies, including the quality of the applicants and the challenges they face.

Low-Skill Jobs, Work Hours, and Paid Time Off

November 1, 2008

Based on a survey of employers, examines the scheduling demands placed on low-skill workers and the availability of sick leave, paid time off, and benefits allowing for the care of family members. Compares benefits for entry-level and next-step jobs.

Understanding the Demand Side of the Low-Wage Labor Market

April 10, 2008

Presents findings from a survey of employers on their less-skilled labor needs: who hires whom and how; with what requirements, wages, benefits, results, and factors for promotion; and what policies would help job seekers without a college education.

Mental Health, Work and Mental Health Service Use among Low-Income Mothers

August 1, 2007

This paper analyzes how mental health problems impede low-income mothers' ability to work and how health insurance improves access to mental health treatment services. According to data from the 2002 National Survey of America's Families, low-income mothers in poor mental health are significantly less likely to work and to work full time than those without these problems. Low-income mothers with public or private health insurance are significantly more likely to receive treatment than those without insurance. Mental health problems are an important barrier to work among low-income women, and access to treatment could be improved through increased health insurance coverage.

Choices, Challenges, and Options: Child SSI Recipients Preparing for the Transition to Adult Life

May 23, 2005

For young people receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a means-tested cash benefit for children with disabilities, the transition into young adulthood is complicated for several reasons. Health issues, service needs, and lack of access to supports can complicate planning and preparing for future schooling, work, and independent living. These issues are especially pressing at age 18 because, following legislative changes in 1996, child SSI recipients have their benefits redetermined under the adult disability criteria. Some child SSI beneficiaries lose eligibility at this redetermination because they do not meet the adult SSI disability criteria. This paper uses newly released data from the Social Security Administration (SSA), the National Survey of Children and Families (NSCF), to study this transition period for cohorts of child SSI recipients just prior to and after the age 18 redetermination. To date, information on the transition experiences of child SSI recipients has been hampered by data limitations. Our analysis addresses this gap by providing detailed information on an array of program, school, training, rehabilitation, and employment issues facing youth during this transition period.

More Work Focused Disability Program? Challenges and Options

November 1, 2003

This paper presents options for incorporating a strong return-to-work focus in the disability eligibility requirements for the Social Security Administration's (SSA) disability programs. In developing options, we first review alternative disability concepts from other private and public disability programs that focus on an individual's residual capacity to work, rather than an inability to work. We then examine the potential implications of applying different components of these alternative conceptualizations to the current disability eligibility requirements. Our analysis illustrates that policy makers must struggle with the real costs of creating a more expansive set of disability eligibility criteria that focus on work (which will significantly increase the size of the caseload), with the other costs of having an all-or-nothing disability definition.

Policy Options for Assisting Child SSI Recipients in Transition

October 23, 2003

The transition process for a child Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipient nearing the age of 18 can be quite complicated. From a programmatic standpoint, all child SSI recipients have their eligibility redetermined under the adult SSI disability requirements at age 18. Potentially more important, many child SSI recipients are also at the age when they must prepare for life beyond secondary school. The choices made during this important transition could have long-term implications for a child's future employment prospects, particularly given the typically long durations of participation and strong work disincentives associated with SSI participation. The purpose of our analysis is to examine concerns related to this transition process and suggest policy options for consideration by the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Ticket Advisory Panel. Our findings are based on an extensive literature review of programs that serve child SSI recipients and semi-structured interviews with experts familiar with the problems facing youth during this transition. In previous reports, the Ticket Advisory Panel has suggested expanding eligibility for the Ticket program to child SSI recipients age 17 to 18 as one possible mechanism for improving independent living options for this population (Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Advisory Panel 2001). We build off this initial suggestion by examining other possible mechanisms for improving independent living options for "transition age" (i.e., youth nearing age 18) child SSI recipients.

The Relationship between Early Disability Onset and Education and Employment

September 1, 2003

The early onset of disability (at birth through young adulthood) can affect a person's employment outcomes in myriad ways. In addition to the direct effect of disability on employment, early onset of disability likely affects the acquisition of education and job skills (human capital). This reduced "investment" in human capital in turn may reduce the individual's employment and earnings prospects throughout their lifetime. If this is the case, people with early onset of disability may be doubly disadvantaged when it comes to later employment prospects.This study analyzes how early onset of disability (onset prior to age 22) affects employment opportunities both directly and as a result of reduced investment in human capital (education) for a younger cohort (ages 22 to 35) and older cohort (ages 44 to 54). In our young cohort, we find that people with early onset of disability have a lower probability of completing high school and a lower probability of being employed than those without disabilities. Lower employment rates result from both lower levels of high school completion and a direct negative impact of disability on work. In the older cohort, we find the employment of those with disability is lower than those without disability, regardless of age of onset. However, those with early onset of disability have significantly higher employment rates than those with later onset of disability (after age 22). We hypothesize that this is a result of people with onset of disability prior to age 22 either choose careers that can be more easily accommodated than the careers people with later disability onset have, or that people with early onset of disability are more likely to be adept at seeking and using accommodations than those with later disability onset. These results suggest that policies and programs to increase employment of persons with disabilities should focus on ways to increase education levels of those with early onset of disability. They also suggest that return-to-work efforts focused on older cohorts of persons with disabilities may want to separately target programs to those with early onset of disability.